On May 12, 2023, the United Nations Committee Against Torture published its final periodic report on Kazakhstan. The Committee paid particular attention to the human rights violations following the events of Bloody January, stating that it “is deeply concerned about many consistent reports indicating various forms of torture, ill-treatment, (…) that occurred in the context of the January 2022 protests. (…) 

The Committee urges the State party to ensure that all acts of torture and ill-treatment, including excessive use of force, occurred during the January 2022 events are promptly investigated in an independent and impartial manner and that the suspected perpetrators are duly tried and, if found guilty, punished in a manner commensurate with the gravity of their acts. 

The State party should further ensure that burden of proof that torture or ill-treatment had been committed lies with the public authorities rather than the victims, under all circumstances and in all investigations of acts of torture and ill-treatment. 

The State party is also invited to consider assistance from international experts in investigating the cases of torture and ill-treatment in line with international standards.”

Dr. Karim Massimov has been arbitrarily detained and wrongfully held in solitary confinement since January 5, 2022. On April 24, 2023, Massimov was convicted to serve an 18 year sentence in prison, despite suffering from medical conditions that put him at high risk of death in detention. 

The Government of Kazakhstan must release Massimov on humanitarian grounds and investigate those responsible for his arbitrary detention and ill-treatment.